Proposition A Wins Big
Nearly three-quarters of San Diego County voters cast their ballot in favor of Proposition A Tuesday. The measure will add a permanent ban on project labor agreements to the county charter.
Proposition A is the third ban on project labor agreements passed by San Diego region voters this year. The county joins Oceanside and Chula Vista in prohibiting the agreements that set base pay and benefits for workers on specific construction projects before they are put out for bid.
Supporters argued the agreements drive up costs on taxpayer-funded construction projects by forcing non-union contractors to operate like unionized companies.
“If you’re a non-union company and you win a bid under a PLA, you can use your workers,” Scott Crosby, president of the San Diego Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, told KPBS earlier this month. “But you have to sign them up through a union hiring hall and start paying benefits into their pension funds.”
Lorena Gonzalez, secretary treasurer of San Diego’s Labor Council, said project labor agreements have only ever been used on large, complex public projects, like Petco Park for example. She said banning them will undermine hard-fought protections for workers.
“I think it benefits all of us when there are rules in place,” said Gonzalez. "When everyone understands those rules. When workers are protected, where we require local hires, when we (give health-care incentives) to workers, all of us are made better. The contractors are going to continue to fight that because it means less profits for them and that’s all they care about.”